A HOSPITAL is due to shut within the next few weeks, with the services currently provided there to be outsourced from care homes.

Hitchin Hospital, which provides intermediate care for North Herts, will begin a phased closing process next week as services will move to either Minsden Care Home in Hitchin or the new Jubilee Court Care Home in Stevenage.

It is a joint venture between Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) – on behalf of the primary care trust (PCT) NHS Herts – and Quantum Care, following a decision made by the PCT to close the hospital because it is outdated.

People in North Herts and Stevenage will be cared for in the new homes from Monday.

Julie Hoare, director of operations at HCT, said: “Our first priority is the patients affected by the move out of Hitchin Hospital and to make sure the transfers go smoothly for them and their relatives.

“Our staff have also been very involved in preparations for the changes and most of them have been offered suitable posts by the trust so that voluntary redundancies will be kept to a minimum.”

Some staff who currently work at the hospital will be kept on, working in similar roles to provide rehabilitation and specialist nursing support to patients.

Sam Cheekoory, director of operations at Quantum Care, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with HCT to provide much needed services for older people in the north of Hertfordshire. This is a great opportunity for health and social care to work together to serve their local communities.”

Jane Halpin, chief executive of NHS Herts, added: “I am very pleased that this joint venture is now underway and that people in North Herts will be able to receive intermediate care in a local, more suitable environment to support their recovery.”

An NHS Herts spokesman told the Comet that the hospital had not yet gone on the market.

He added that no-one had approached the PCT interested in buying the site.